UNSW-led research has uncovered a battle raging beneath the waves as armies of tiny microbes fight to determine whether exotic marine plants invade new territory and replace native species.


UNSW Sydney scientists studying microbes from some of the saltiest lakes in Antarctica have discovered a new way that the tiny organisms can share DNA that could help them grow and survive.


An unprecedented global survey of marine sponges – the most ancient multicellular lifeforms on Earth— has revealed they make a massive contribution to the total microbial diversity of the world’s oceans.


UNSW-led researchers have discovered a way to produce a tenfold increase in the amount of methane gas emitted by naturally occurring microbes living in coal seams and on food waste.

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Microbes may be tiny, but their huge number and diversity mean they can be used to identify environmental impacts early, potentially limiting greater harm to larger organisms, write Katherine Dafforn, Emma Johnston, Inke Falkner and Melanie Sun.


Decades of heavy industry have resulted in extreme levels of pollution in our waterways. UNSW Associate Professor Mike Manefield and his team have discovered a naturally occurring bacteria that literally breathes away these pollutants.

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Adding pollution-eating micobes to a standard remediation practice involving iron can dramatically speed up the breakdown of toxic industrial chemicals in groundwater, UNSW research shows.

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UNSW scientists hope to unlock the secrets of millions of marine microbes with the help of an international team of volunteers sharing their spare computer capacity to create a research “supercomputer”.

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A UNSW-led team has uncovered the genetic secrets of extremophile microbes that can survive in temperatures as low as minus 20 degrees in the saltiest lake in Antarctica.


Scientists on a UNSW-led expedition to study microbes in the Indian Ocean have weathered huge seas, encountered giant whales and collected lots of data during the first leg of their voyage from South Africa to Mauritius.